How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program near Kent Washington
Now that you have made a decision to join the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Kent WA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You may decide to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The bottom line is that prior to selecting a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are assessing. And to assist you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you should ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their role is ensure that the Kent WA clinics, hospitals and other medical care centers where they work run efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing instruments and rooms for physicians
- Supplying basic support during examinations and procedures
While medical assistants can carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Washington law, some choose to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to obtain a college degree. However, a number of Kent WA health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially 2 choices available for a formal education. The first and fastest path to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to finish, a few as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local healthcare practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for individuals who may not have time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, some online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary costs including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be performed in Kent WA area medical facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to getting your training may be the right choice for you. With the online lessons and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is furnished.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. Many potential Kent WA medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Questions to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you need to choose which type of credential you want to earn, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students confine their searches to the colleges that are closest to Kent WA with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional considerations that you need to examine when researching schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to verify that the program you choose is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your school is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Kent WA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Next, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. This is one of the methods to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program and receive entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, however the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require approximately two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you choose to enroll in, verify that the colleges you are reviewing provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Available? A large number of medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Kent WA area medical providers. They are a great method to obtain hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students build relationships within the Kent medical community. And as an added benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding that very first job can be a difficult task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Kent WA area and find out what their placement rate is. If a school has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in positions.
How Large are the Classes? Class size may be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a few classes before selecting a program to see what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you choose offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Kent WA, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule any internships or clinical training that might be required. Additionally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Kent Washington?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Kent WA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Kent is a city located in King County, Washington, United States. It is the sixth largest city in the state. Kent is in the heart of the Seattle–Tacoma metropolitan area, located 19 miles south of Seattle and 19 miles northeast of Tacoma. Incorporated in 1890, it is the second oldest incorporated city in King County, after Seattle. Kent's population as of April 2010 was 92,411 according to the 2010 census. The total grew to an estimated 126,952 as of July 1, 2015, owing primarily to annexation.
The Kent area was first permanently settled by European Americans in the early to mid-1850's along the banks of what was then the White River. The first settler was Samuel Russell, who sailed the White and Duamish rivers until he claimed a plot of land southeast of modern-day downtown Kent in the spring of 1853. Russell was followed by several other settlers who quickly staked claims in the area. The settlements were originally known as "White River" and later the town was called "Titusville" after an early settler by the name of James Henry Titus. (There is still a "Titusville Station" sign on Gowe Street near First Avenue). In 1861 a post office was established under the name White River and was located at the farm of David and Irena Neely who settled in modern-day Kent in 1854. In 1855 their farm was attacked by Native Americans when David Neely served as a lieutenant in the Territorial Army. By 1870 the population was 277 and all of the quality bottom-land had been claimed.
Throughout the 1860s and 70's, grain and forage crops such as wheat, barley, oats, hay, and timothy accounted for much of the annual return of farmers in the valley. During the late 1870s the town discovered hops production as a major source of income. Due to an aphid invasion which affected hops crops in Europe, hops from the Puget Sound area began to command high prices. Hops were shipped from Titusville either by the river or via rail. In 1889 the town was renamed for the County of Kent, the major hops-producing region in England. Hops production in the White River valley came to an end soon after its own invasion of aphids in 1891.
Choose the Best Medical Assistant Course Kent WA
It’s important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re objective is to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to acquire the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially critical if you anticipate taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in How To Become A Medical Assistant. But irrespective of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can subsequently begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Kent WA.
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